tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN August 4, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
very strong rationale at the beginning, but right now i think there's perhaps a different rationale that might be articulated, but nobody is in charge of doing that. >> so are there -- with this increase in a number of labs in the various missions associated, what would your recommendations be to addressing -- >> well, we made recommendations there could be a single entity with responsibility for developing a national strategic plan and national standards for the operations of high containment laboratories. the dilemma is figuring out how to do that in the current environment with competing interests among the agencies and so forth. there's even a competing issue in the congress since committees of the congress have different jurisdictions over agencies. so it's a tough problem to
solve, but we think it would be worth spending some time even at a theoretical strategic level to address the issue and think through how we go about doing it in the future. >> dr. frieden, what are your views here in terms of the growing numbers of of the labs and just what -- how to move forward with the activity here in the u.s.? >> i do think this is a complicated topic for which there's probably not a quick and simple solution, but just logically, the more places with dangerous pathogens goes on, the more possibility there is of accidents or accidental releases. so ensuring that the work that happens is happening in a safe environment is critical and the key concept i think we have to apply is risk-benefit. i don't think we can ever guarantee zero risk for some of
the things that are done that we can do everything humanly possible to get that risk as low as possible, but we have to ensure that the benefit is something that's reasonably likely to occur. >> thank you. thank you very much. with that, i yield back, mr. chair. >> thank you. i now recognize mr. griffith for five minutes. >> thank you, i appreciate it, and i appreciate you here to testify for us. if i could get you to turn to tab 5 in the booklet. as you look at tab 5, that is the hhs inspector general report regarding the cdc. which says it was sent to you. have you seen this before at some point? front page says it was sent to you.
if i could direct you to page 5. the inspector general's office could not verify approved individuals for select agents had not received the required training. do you see that? >> yes. >> likewise, select agent inventory records are incomplete and you acknowledge that's on that page? >> yes. >> if you go over to page 6, the report says that agents stored in areas not listed in the registration? you see that at the top of the page as well, page 6? >> yes. >> thank you. and one example is a scientist found a vial of select agent in a drawer and another found 16 vials stored in an unsecured freezer. do you see that in that paragraph? >> yes. >> the report also states there were unauthorized transfers and packages received by unapproved individuals. now, my concern is this. this is at the roybal facility. went these the same kind of
violations that popped up and found in subsequent inspections by the usd na twnt 13 and 2014 and revealed again in the matter that brings us here today in the anthrax and flu incidents of 2014? aren't they the same type of problems? >> the answer is yes and no. the specific problems that were found led to a specific response. for example, on security, we implemented layers of security, strengthened the systems, locked, improved personal background checks and securities. so in each of these, we -- >> let me -- did you all do a systemwide after these were discovered? we have 2010, 2013, and earlier in 2014, did you all ever do a systemwide recheck? >> not adequately.
>> not adequately. >> we addressed special problems with sincere effort to legislate my them, but we missed the broader pattern that we're now addressing by strengthening the culture of safety in our labs. >> all right. i do appreciate that, and i know you have to answer a lot of tough question, and i appreciate your demeanor today. i think that's appropriate and appreciated. that being said, look to page 7 and 8, five recommendations there. if you could read those out loud, that take place and let me know if they were followed up on. >> i can shorten it by saying the key one is the fifth which has to do with confirming materials are inactive before transferring them, and that was specifically what was not done in the anthrax incident. if we had applied this broadly, this incident would not have happened. the incident, to give you a sense of it in 2006, the same laboratory had a similar incident.
that's why i direct it in the 2011 report. after that, they implemented a standard operating procedure for that particular type of biological material leaving their laboratory. when they had a different type of biological laboratory -- biological material leaving the laboratory, they doesn't use that same standard operating procedure. so i think it's the lack of adequate pattern recognition that has led us, until these last few weeks, not to undertake the kind of comprehensive sweeping change in our -- and improvement in our laboratory safety culture we're now implementing. >> well, appreciate that. what about the other four? number five was important, but can you look at the other four? >> the first has to do with physical security measure, and i believe we've taken a number of steps there. there are still steps we have to do better on in that area. having to do with staff coming in and not swiping in every time, and -- >> you've indicated training, which is number three. what about number two?
>> yes, i think we've made a great deal of progress on ensuring that only approved individuals are allowed access to select agents. and mr. henderson can speak more to that. >> i've got 20 seconds to do number four. >> inventory is an area where we have done a number of things, but given the recent incident at nih and the fact that inventory is a flash point, we will reviewing all of our inventory work. it's a massive job to do it right, but we will do that as well. >> well, i appreciate that. the safety of the american people rests in your hands. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> the chair now recognizes chairman schakowsky. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to thank the witnesses. as you can see from the tone of the hearing, there's complete
bipartisan concern about what happened here. what i wanted to concentrate on is not the incidents themselves, but the response in particular to the anthrax release. the cdc report described delays in identification and potential exposed individuals and potentially affected lab rooms and communication of the possible release of anthrax to all cdc staff that may have been exposed, and that there was no clear lead for response to the incident in the first week. so, you know, the -- this -- i know you've discussed a number of these thing, but it's the management piece. once a problem was discovered and so i wanted to ask you, dr. freeden, what's was your response to this finding? >> this was our finding, and we indicated that when we deal with
outside events and currently dealing with ebola in west africa, we activate emergency operation center or sometimes we'll use facilities of the emergency operation center to manage a response more effectively. we should have done that the moment we learned of the potential exposure. that allows us to break down a big problem into smaller problems and address them one by one. communications, employee safety:ical care, decontamination, scientific evaluation, investigation. and so instead of doing that in a systematic way it was done unsystematically and not as well as it should have been done. in the first few days, which i remember vividly, we were really focused on the employees who may have been exposed and making sure they got into care and got on to treatment. >> but it took awhile to even identify who those people were. >> yes, in the effort to do that, we identified that we didn't have the kind of systems that's were needed or the
systems that we had in place weren't used properly. for example, viewing security camera coverage to see who had come into and left the facilities on time. that wasn't done because one part of the agency didn't know or didn't use those resources that the root cause of that problem was not activating our incident command system. >> dr. dick, can you elaborate on that finding about response? >> yes. i think our findings were very similar to dr. frieden's. we had an independent team come in during -- there were still ongoing investigation by cdc and their staff and our select agent group was interviewing employees and workers from the various sections that were responding to this. we found very similar findings to those that he just indicated. >> okay. >> you know, i wanted to
follow up for a second on what the chairman was saying about the possibility of even stealing something that is a threat. you know, in the smallpox incident, it turned out that the vials were discovered at nih, but they could have been somewhere else. nobody seemed to know. and that's really disturbing, too, that, you know, who knows? somebody could have taken them out. i mean, so i'm not sure when you say nothing's been stolen, but it also says nothing could have been stolen. you want to respond to that? >> well, we have taken a number of steps to strengthen the security aspect of select agent registration. those steps include suitability assessments for all people who work with tier 1
agents. they include looking at cybersecurity issues and personal reliability, ongoing access of personnel who have access to tier 1 agents, increased physical security standards, incident response plans, and ongoing training. i do think that the concern for theft is real. some of these organisms still occur in nature, and ensuring that where there are laboratories, not just in this country, but around the world that do tests on them -- >> well, let's worry about this country right now, and smallpox, of course, would be a big concern. let me just end with this, if i could, mr. chairman. whenever i hear the word "culture" and a cultural problem, i know we have a real challenge on our hands. you know, hand washing changed the face of medicine. it's not sexy and people don't win nobel prizes over that kind of thing, but it really, as part
of the culture, has made our medical system much more successful. huge advance. these kinds of small things that deal with culture and attitude and awareness of these kinds of very simple thing, you need to primarily figure out how to make them part of the everyday thinking of your staff and, you know, we're willing participants here, and i yield back. >> thank you. i now recognize mr. johnson of ohio for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i, too, want to thank the witnesses for joining us today. dr. frieden, you're the guy on the hot seat, peppered with the questions, and i got a few for you as well. you know, the mission of cdc laboratories, as you well know, includes carrying out work to protect the american public
against bioterrorist activities. now, critical lab activities are shut down pending the outcome of the remedial evaluation and reform. so how will cdc address bioterrorism or other emergencies that might occur before they reopen? >> there's just one particular laboratory that is shut. there are multiple other laboratories at cdc that continue operation that would be able to respond to bioterrorist incidents. >> okay. there's no concern on your part because of the cdc errors we may be limiting our ability to protect the public? >> no, i'm confident that the incidents we saw did not cause any release of agents into the community. they most likely did not cause any actual exposure to cdc staff, but they really are a tipping point in our effort to
recognize we need to improve our safety. but we're still fully functional in terms of being able to respond to an event. it's just that step of sending something out of a high containment space into a low containment space that i've issued a moratorium on. and we'll lift that laboratory by laboratory as soon as we're confident we can do that safely. >> okay. is the cdc planning on using the nashlg national science advisory board for biosecurity to advise cdc on laboratory quality and safety? >> what i intend to do is to invite an external advisory group specific to look at cdc and specific to tell us every way they think we can do better -- >> what about the national science advisory board for biosecurity? are you going to be using them? >> that's not my current plan to the best of my understanding. >> okay. nih on sunday purged almost half of the members from that board, and i was inquisitive about whether you knew about this, why
the administration took this action, and whether or not nih consulted. do you use that advisory board for anything? >> i would have to get back to you on our particular -- it's primarily managed by nih. i'd have to defer to them for diminishment of that group. >> all right. well, that's good. that eliminates one question for you then. for dr. dick, in light of the anthrax incident investigation, aphis recently completed, do you think that prior inspections of cdc laboratories were sufficient? >> i do. >> okay. well given the fact that select agents were stored in undesignated places, shouldn't such problems have come to light fully as a result of prior inspections? >> yeah, i think the important thing to recognize is that when we review their protocols, the
protocols were in place. and because of the primary cause of this incident, and that was that these -- this bacteria was not inactivated it was transferred to a laboratory that would not necessarily have to have a locked cabinet. and so, therefore, when we provide our report on select agents, as was indicated earlier, we also report on those laboratories where that select agent went. in this case, not deactivated. >> okay. well, that's concludes my questions, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. i now recognize mr. long for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. frieden, are you familiar with this picture? >> i certainly am. >> well, i'm going to turn 59 years old in less than a month, and this file is dated 17 months
before i was born, and apparently, it was located in a cooler where? >> on the nih campus. >> last week. >> a little over that. >> and recent. >> yes. >> recently. >> yes. >> so this vial of smallpox that's older than i am had been in a cooler. am i given to understand in one location? i can't even imagine a cooler running for 60 years, 61 years. >> my understanding was it was a walk-in cold room used for storage. >> and someone walked in and discovered this smallpox? >> what happened was that that laboratory, as i understand it, was transitioned from nih to fda many years ago when fda took over some of those functions. fda is moving into its new facilities. in the course of moving it was doing a complete inventory of everything in its facility, and the workers there discovered a
large box that had this vial and others in it. >> workers like moving workers -- >> like laboratory scientists. >> lab work, okay. well, recently, there was a case of someone that wanted to remove information from nsa, and he got in a position to do that. and with a $1,500 thumb drive, he was able to take all kinds of severe government secrets with him out of his position. he worked into -- does that bother you at all that people could, if they had cruelty meanness in mind that they could not get into a cooler like this and take a 61-year-old vial of smallpox? >> we're certainly concerned that smallpox, which should not have been there, was there for many years. and we want to ensure that on our campus and nih is looking at theirs and fda with theirs, there's not other examples of
collections, because this was a collection of organisms in places where they should not be. this particular box was created by a scientist or a group of scientists. the materials were essentially freeze-dried and then sealed in that ampule that you held up a picture of. that was done before smallpox eradication was undertaken. it was not done with malicious intent. it was done just to preserve something for -- >> no, i know that, but the fact this lays around for 61 years, i just can't conceive of that thought. let me take you to a press conference from last friday, now that we've moved from 61-plus years ago. this indicated the cdc does research to figure out how better to treat people if they are exposed to prevent it and how better to prevent it through vaccination. you also stated the fact anthrax
continues to occur in nature and that anthrax has been used as a weapon. my question is there. how many cdc laboratory workers received the license anthrax vaccine prior to the anthrax incident last month as recommended by the cdc, advisory committees on immunization practice,s committee for lab workers since 2002? >> i have to get back to you on the exact number, but we offer anthrax vaccine for anyone for whom anthrax vaccine is indicated. we don't require vaccination, but offer it to those who may have been exposed through the lab work. >> you think that's a pretty active program? >> oh, yes. >> you have any idea -- i know you said you have to get back at me, which is fine. i'd appreciate it. >> i'd have to get back to you. >> okay. because it's reported that you told reuters on june 30th the fact that anthrax exposure was even a concern or that it might have happened is unacceptable.
employees should never have to be concerned about the safety from preventable exposures. and as you note to date, more than 12 million doses of the live anthrax vaccine have been administered to more than 3 million individuals. if you can get back to me with that, i appreciate it. >> i will. >> with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. i now recognize ms. elmers of north carolina for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you to our panel. this is a very good discussion, and i appreciate your candid responses. at this point, the most important thing we can do is get to the bottom of it and correct issues at hand so these things do not happen again. i wanted to clarify something. dr. frieden, there was a question posed to you about the number of missing possible toxic
substances, and i know you had acknowledged that over time there has been an account of some missing, but not stolen, correct? if something is missing, how do you determine that it absolutely was not stolen? if anyone else on the panel would like to comment on that, i would appreciate it as well. >> so in the -- to give you an example, there may have been a package that was sent from one location to another that had a select agent in it. it did not arrive at the second location. the fbi was involved in that investigation, and the fbi concluded that the package had been inadvertently destroyed, but it had not been stolen or lost. is there anything you'd like to add to that? >> just one thing i think is important, we take the notion
of chain of custody seriously so we are trying to be mindful of where the select agents are stored. and if they are in transport, we have eyes anthem or someone trusted to be with them as much as possible. there could be an accounting issue where they didn't complete the paperwork and then we have to investigate what happened. there have been a couple of instances like that. >> okay. thank you for clarifying that for me. and then, again, getting back to just some of the toxic substances found in boxes that may not have stated what they were, you know, in a refrigerated walk-in storage or otherwise, when the nih ran across their recent problem, they put in place a clean sweep, and i know you said that there was a change, you know, there was a transition between nih and fda. were they already in the
process? i mean, is that what the clean sweep is that you talked about or did they institute the clean sweep afterwards? >> my understanding is that both nih and fda are doing complete inventory checks and follow up the inventory of the smallpox vial. >> is the cdc doing the same? >> yes, we will undertake a comprehensive inventory review at all of our facilities. >> all of the facilities, including the one shut down now, obviously, but all of them? >> all of our labs, yes. all of our lab facilities. >> thank you. i have time, if anyone wants to use it, mr. chairman, but i yield back right now. if no one else wants my time. >> i believe that concludes our first panel, so i thank all the witnesses for coming today, and we'll just let you step away as we prepare the second panel.
i'd also remind everyone that we will have some follow-up questions so please get back to us in quick time. >> mr. chairman, will you yield for one second? >> yes, i would. >> i would just hope that we would have this panel back in the fall after dr. frieden completes his investigation and puts his controls in place. i think it's really important for us to know what they are doing. and i know they are working hard on this. >> i agree. we would like to hear so we'll have you back. >> the witness is awol i guess. >> has he checked in? >> i don't know. >> what we may do to get going, is i may swear you in so you can
start your testimony and then swear in dr. bright when he returns. you are aware they are holding an investigative hearing and have the practice of taking testimony under oath. any objections to testifying under oath? you can be advised by counsel. do you have a desire to be advised by counsel? >> i do not. >> could you please raise your right hand? i'll swear you in. do you swear the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truths and nothing but the truth? >> you are now under oath. you may now give a five-minute written summary -- five-minute summary of your written statement. >> thank you, chairman murphy, ranking member degette and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to be here. let me begin by commending the cdc specifically, the actions taken to protect the workforce and inform the general public
during this very serious issue. i stand by my belief when someone does something wrong we cannot forget what they've done right, and in general, we must not forget that the cdc has an outstanding history of service. for over ten years, i've provided biosafety training for those working in laboratories. my background is in behavioral science and i motivate individuals to mitigate the risk associated with infectious diseases. there's three challenges we face in scientific research. the agent, the people working with the agent, and the organization where the work is being done. the first challenge of working safely with infectious agents has been for decades and can be appropriately mitigated. effective engineering controls, prornl tective equipment and standard operating procedures are already in place. however it is important to recognize that one person and one error, whether it's
unintentional or intentional can negate all of those controls in an instant. this leads to the second challenge we face in safe science, and that is the people working with the agent. human risk factors like risk perceptions, attitudes, behavior, complacency, outrage, apathy, and perceived mastery have to be addressed to receive optimal performance from the scientific workforce. we must access and learn from and control for human error in the laboratory environment. in other words, we have to stop focusing on the who and start focusing on the why, how, and what went wrong passing no judgment other than we're all human, which would lead to solutions minimizing further human error. our final and greatest challenge is the existing social norms of safety culture within the organization. let me repeat myself. the greatest challenge we face specific to safe science is not the agent. it is not the worker. it is the culture of the
organization. the culture of the organization permits norms to be developed and it is within these norms that behavior is either deemed acceptable or unacceptable. as a former proud cdc employee, i am very, very disappointed by what i am hearing. it has been and remains very clear that this issue is a systemic one, or an organizational issue rather than an issue of a laboratory director and two scientists. i've become irritated by the unnecessary finger-pointing and disciplinary action of scientists who worked in parallel with the culture of the organization and made an unintentional error. the incident highlights the need for scientific protocols to be reviewed and verified, ensuring they work and they can be done by those working in the laboratory. this incident ensures the need that these protocols are followed, and if not, consequences for future failures are immediately applied.
this incident calls for more evidence based research to determine what specifically works and minimize risks associated with the challenges we face, which, again, are the agent, the people, and the organization. in the years i've been doing training, i have been forced to speak a common language around the world. no matter where you are in the united states of america or around the world, people can relate to the concept of neighborhood, house, and family. i have used a home sweet home approach for establishing a healthy culture in the laboratory trainings. please consider this analogy. a laboratory is a home. a scientist working within the laboratory or a family. the scientific protocols are the house rules. if one member of the family breaks the house rules it puts the whole family at risk. if breaking the rules is not addressed, the whole house is at risk and begins to affect other houses in the neighborhood. let me clarify. if scientists do not follow their house rules, that impacts
other laboratories within the organization. cdc is a neighborhood that houses hundreds of houses or has hundreds of labs. if the neighborhood does not establish a set of ground rules for all the houses, then each house begins to do their own thing, and inevitably, the neighborhood is at risk. building a culture of safety starts with building a commitment to the residents or the scientists of that neighborhood or that organization. we don't banish family members for unintentional errors. we encourage lab directors to come together to find solutions. we establish consequences for neighborhood members, scientists who blatantly choose to break neighborhood rules. we support each other, especially when unintentional accidents occur. we talk about incidents, not hide them, so the whole neighborhood learns and grows from them. we recognize together we are
safer and this commitment is contagious and spreads to homes throughout the neighborhoods and laboratories throughout the organization. this is just the start of culture change, folks. the seed we plant, we reap five years from now. somewhere out there may be a scientist or organization who finds something unexpected in a freezer or as a human being makes an unintentional error. a choice has to be made. do i report this or not? i ask this committee to facilitate a process encouraging organizations to report incidents and accidents rather than punishing them for doing so. cdc remains a national treasure, and the united states of america remains a land of opportunity for scientists and biological research. placing untested mandates as a result of this incident on scientists and institutions of research may not only push science and innovation outside of infectious disease research,
but worse, could shift it to other regions of the world. i ask this committee to continue to take leadership roles while considering implications of the hearing and future legislation. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. doctor, you weren't available when i swore him in. but first, i'll ask you, when we're doing an investigative hearing we take testimony under oath. do you have any objection to testifying under oath? the chair advises you under the rules of the house and committee, you are entitled to be advised by counsel. do you intend to be advised by counsel today? do you swear the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing about the truth? thank you. you are under oath and set forth to the penalties under title 18 of the united states code. you may give a five-minute verbal summary of your written statement. >> mr. chairman, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to discuss the twnt 14 cdc anthrax incident and its
implications. i'm board of governors professor of chemistry and biology at rutgers university and laboratory director at the waxman institute of microbiology. i'll discuss three topics. first, 2014 cdc anthrax incident. second, broader biosafety and biosecurity issues and cdc bioweapons agents laboratories. also known as select agent laboratories. and, three, broader biosafety and biosecurity issues at the more than 1,000 other government, academic and corporate select agent laboratories across the united states that are regulated by the cdc. my assessments are based on information published in cdc hhs, oig, usda, oig, gao documents, published press reports, and my knowledge of biosafety and biosecurity standards when i work with bacterial pathogens. i turn first to the 2014 cdc anthrax incident. i note the 2014 anthrax incident
did not involve one violation in one laboratory but instead involved an entire series of violations. the 2014 cdc anthrax incident involved multiple violations of biosafety and biosecurity recommendations in each tleef different cdc laboratories. there were seven distinct violations in total. had any of three violations in one cdc laboratory not occurred, the incident would not have occurred. had any of the four violations in two other cdc labs not occurred, the incident would have been mitigated. i note further the incident reprized nearly exactly a 2004 incident. in the 2004 incident, workers in southern research institute in frederick, maryland, used an inappropriate procedure to sample anthrax bacteria, and sent the inert but viable anthrax bacteria to oakland children's hospital where eight persons were exposed before
learning the anthrax vial were viable. the cdc as the agency with regulatory responsibility or select agent work relevant to human health, investigated the 2004 oakland anthrax incident and a 2005 issued a report an the incident. the 2005 cdc report included revised biosafety and biosecurity recommendations both for laboratories that prepare and provide an activated anthrax bacteria fd for labs that receive and use those inactivated anthrax bacteria. had the cdc implemented the recommendations in its own 2005 report, the 2014 cdc anthrax incident could not have occurred. but the cdc did not implement the recommendations in its 2005 report. the fact that the cdc in 2014 made exactly the same errors that had been made in the 2004 oakland anthrax incident shows that the cdc did not learn from that incident. i turn now to biosafety and biosecurity and cdc select agent laboratories. i submit that the 2014 cdc
anthrax incident is not an isolated incident but is part of a pattern and a pattern that would have been recognized a half decade ago and should have been. last week, cdc report listed multiple other incidents, none previously disclosed to he public in which cdc labs sent punitively and activated or attenuated but viable and virulent select agents to other laboratories. these previously undiscloed cloesed select agents are similar to he 2014 incident. in particular, two previously undisclosed incidents from 2006 involved anthrax and appear to be essentially identical to the current incident. all of these incidents raise both safety and security concerns. i note further that hhs/oig audits have documented further biosafety and biosecurity violations in cdc select agents. hhs/oig audits of the select agent labs in 20082009 and 2010 reported major violations. these violations included failures to secure physical
security, failures to restrict access and document inventories. they also included the failure to provide required training to workers with training being unverifiable for fully one in three workers in the most recent available report. perhaps most egregiously they include unauthorized transfers of select agent labs to other laboratories or individuals. i note the press reports from 2007 through the present have documented further biosafety and biosecurity deficiencies. examples just to summarize include inradequate previsions for backup power, nonfunctioning doors, nonfunctioning door seals, jerry rigged repairs with duct tape. failure to latch entry doors. failure to asewn distinct key codes to key cards for select agent laboratories and at least one case the discovery of an unescorted, unauthorized person in a restricted area. taken together, the available
documents indkaicate they have t ensured biosecurity in their own labs and have sim attic violations in its own labs. i turn now to biosafety and biosecurity at cdc -- >> could you summarize up the rest of your statement? >> the cdc and the usda have regulatory responsibility for biosafety and biosecurity in the approximately 1,000 other u.s. select agent labs. government, academing and corporate. there is no basis for confidence that biosafety and biosecurity standards are higher or that select agent inspections are more stringent at cdc regulated noncdc select agent labs than in cdc select agent labs. there also is no basis for confidence that biosafety and biosecurity standards are higher or that select agent inspections are more stringent at usda regulated select agent labs than in cdc select agent laboratories. deficiencies in select agent standards at these cdc regulated
and usda regulated other labs are documented in hhs and usda, oig. >> you are way over time. 15 more seconds. >> one final point, which is i note the cdc and usda not only perform and fund select agent work but also regulate biosafety and biosecurity for select agent work. this represents a clear conflict of interest. this systematic clear conflict of interest may at least partly account for the deficiencies that i've mentioned. thank you. >> i thank the two witnesses. i'll recognize myself for five minutes. you specialize in the area of behavior and behavior change, along those lines. we've heard from you and other witnesses today this culture and complacency is a concern. congress has investigated at length the problems of the veterans administration. we're outraged because of the care for our veterans but saw there were cash incentives for people to cover things up. we also had in this committee hearings with the ceo of general
motors. americans were outraged about this and it was described as a culture of complacency or the gm nod. now this is getting into an area of which, before if you weren't a veteran or didn't buy those chevy cars you were not at risk. but this, you release a pathogen, it's indiscriminate. so does this routine familiarity around pathogens tend to lead people to cut some corners and just get complacent about this? >> i think that there's -- i believe you know this, too. i think there is an inherent risk in behavior in general. you overbehave. you run the risk of being complacent. you under behave, you run the risk of being unprepared. i think it's a kind of a balance and that is in essence what professional development and training and assessments can be used for is to keep that healthy balance in check.
in this case, if we're talking about the anthrax incident in the laboratory, i don't believe that this was a complacency issue or competency issue. i believe this was a scientist that implemented a protocol from another laboratory where it was used, for good purposes, and i would love to share what those purposes are. and unfortunately, there was no process to vet that protocol. and so when it was adapted from one lab to another, the inactivation time it takes to kill one agent versus another is a lot more with the spore forming than it was. >> we heard so many things that dr. ebright was saying. the way doors were handled. people being in an area that were not authorized to be there. that a key was left in a refrigerator. it seems there's several elements here where rules are in place and people are just downright sloppy. >> chairman murphy, i think the things you were saying are very true and they must be addressed
and concerned. but i think they also have to be put into perspective. this key in a freezer is almost like -- it's almost like saying that i have a house and inside my house, i have a gun. and my house has a door with locks. and it also has a house alarm. and upstairs in the master bedroom is hidden a safe. and inside that safe is a gun with a trigger lock that has a key in it. >> that's not the case here. if a key was left in the fridge or people can come into that area, too, if people were all piggybacking an each other's card here, those are violations of rules. >> chairman murphy, like i said, i'm not going to argue the fact it's a problem because it is. but i'm discussing the perspective and i've seen those refrigerators. they are not common practice refrigerators that people go walking by. these are in places where you actually have to have access. i came in as a civilian. i'm not related to cdc. i have been to the laboratory.
i've seen these freezers. they are not -- >> but the issue is how people behaved. that's the question i had for dr. frieden before. should people be required to use their actual card so only certain people can get in that have authorization and it records when they are within there. and deadly pathogens require two cards, two sets of eyes. i want to be clear that in some cases, i mean, are you making excuses for the persons and saying there wasn't enough protocol? >> no, sir. i'm not making excuses. what i am saying is that there's a healthy respect for what truly is going on here. and i think we have to look at the spectrum. we can't be arrogant and say this is just what happens in science. but we also can't be living in an illusion where this is the end of the earth, we've got to stop all research, we've got to minimize and cut things down to
certain number of laboratories as a result of what happens here. we have to take a balanced approach and take a look at really what happened. and in the culture of which it happened. >> do you concur? >> i disagree. >> please explain. >> so these are problems of individuals, but they are problems of individuals acting in a context. that context has two components. one is the laboratory culture and we've talked several times or heard several times today about a culture of lax attitude towards safety. that is part of the problem. we've also heard several times today about researchers becoming inert working with dangerous or hazardous materials. that is part of the problem. what hasn't been mentioned before with respect to culture is hubris. and hubris is fundamentally part of the problem here. a sense of the scientists that he or she should be able to proceed without restriction and without management. so these are all issues with the culture. but in addition to that culture you have an institutional
structure. you have institutional management. and then you have the oversight of that institution. i think these are even bigger problems that are even more significantly responsible for the issues that i describe. i mentioned the fact that cdc and usda regulate their own biosafety and biosecurity. they perform the work they fund the work. that's an inherent conflict of interest. until that regulatory responsibility is moved out of those two agencies, and out of any agency that performs select agent research n funds select agent research, i believe you can predict with high confidence the same types of problems. the same patterns and the same cultures will remain in place in cdc labs in usda labs and in the approximately 1,000 other labs they regulate. >> my sometime way over. ms. degette for five minutes. >> i'll follow up on your questions. mr. kaufman, i have no doubt that these individuals have no ill motives. they are well motivated. they are trying to do their
research. and dr. ebright, i think you would agree with that as well. >> i would. >> let me put this in context. i don't know if you were here when we gave our opening statements. i've been on this subcommittee since 1997. and i've got to tell you that the reason why we're so concerned here is because this kind of practice keeps happening over and over again. it's not just one isolated incident. as our memo that i put into the record said, there were six inspections. aphis identified 29 observations of concern of facilities and equipment. 27 related to safety and security. and 39 on documentation and record keeping. and a lot of times what we're dealing with in this situation is very, very extreme bioagents that could kill a number of people. and you are nodding your head,
so i'm assuming you understand this. yes or no? >> yes, i do. >> so what we're trying to figure -- like i say, i think the people are trying to do their job. i think they are well motivated. but with all due respect, we are not overreacting here. this has got to be solved. so what i want to ask you, since you were here, is did you hear ms. kingsbury's testimony where she said that there is -- that we need to have one agency at least in charge of developing national standards? >> yes, i did. >> and what do you think of that? and she admitted that it's going to be difficult to do that because of overlapping jurisdictions. but would you agree that it's worth an effort to try to do that? >> i know you like yes and no answers, and i'm trying to think. i agree that we should explore what we're doing today and where we can go in the future, yes.
>> dr. ebright, what do you think of that suggestion? >> there definitely should be a single national agency that sets policy recommendations, policy standards standards, and advises on needs and how those needs to be met. there also should be a national entity that regulates and oversees the select agent work. they need not be the same, but they both need to be there. >> let me just say that we've seen this in this subcommittee, not just as cdc. we've also seen it in the labs, and we saw it at loss alamos some years ago where some very highly confidential nuclear data disappeared into you a researcher took it home to his house. it's the same kind of, you call it hubris or whatever. it's an assumption that there's important research going on, and that nothing bad is going to happen. >> correct.
in fairness you need to put systems in place so it's not relying on somebody to have that kind of judgment, where really you should have a system. would you agree if. >> absolutely. >> mr. kauffman, would you agree with that? >> absolutely. >> thank you. i don't have anything further. thank you for clarifying, and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i then we're all kind of on the same path here with our questions. doctor ebright, i want to come to you. let's go back to the cdc report.
at the research lab several days before use. so did cdc follow their own advice in this -- okay. go ahead. >> no, they did not. apparently not in 2006, definitely not in 2014. >> okay. so what we have is a continued pattern of refusing to learn from their past mistakes? >> indeed refusing to read their own reports and follow their own recommendations. >> you are the director of a biomedical research lab. >> yes. >> you do some of this same work with dangerous pathogens. how important is it to you that all personnel in your lab strictly follow your biofade, they have an that is lacking at
cdc? >> i think it's critically important and for biosafety, working with biohazardous organisms at any level. that message of safety has to come first. that safety training has to come first, and before any experiment is even begun, there has to be a process of risk assessment, risk/benefit assessment in which the investigator ename rates the risk, ename rates the benefits, weighs the risks against the benefits, assesses that the risks are outweighed by the benefits, and that process needs to be reviewed by another set of eyes. >> do you follow this as standard operating procedure? >> yes, we do, for our biohazard research. >> yes. is it clearly understood from all of your personnel? do they see this as written best practices? and do they understand that they
are expected and required to follow? >> they understand that they're expected and required to follow these practices. they're monitored in these practices, and the message consistently is that these agents require respect, and they must be handled with respect. and before any experiment, that risk/benefit assessment must occur. >> and if one of your personnel failed to follow those protocols, what would you do to them? >> depending on the nature of the failure, they would face consequences up to and including termination. >> okay. we don't see that pattern taking place at cdc. >> we haven't seen evidence for it. >> okay. do you think that cdc is in need of a major correction? and do you have advice for cdc on what that correction would be? >> well, many of the things that
we heard dr. friedan suggest will be undertaken at the cdc, precisely the steps that are required at the cdc. the question is whether this time will be different from the previous time and the time before that, and the time before that. >> and if they did not do that, i think probably, according to what you have said, you would terminate the whole bunch? >> again, i'm sure -- in this particular case personnel action won't be submit -- this is institutional and organizational. they cannot have the regulatory authority to regulate themselves. it simply. mr. kauffman, anything to add to that? >> i continued to stand by my belief that any type of -- and in my conviction, because over the last ten years you have traveled the world including
several federal labs in the united states. i have asked scientists to please report so we have a chance to learn from them. if they take this chance now and turn it into a punitive aspects against scientists who make unintentional injuries, it's well know punishment does three things. it builds resent muppet. it teaches no new behavior, and it hides true behavior. so if we're going to make decisions, we better consider how we address incidents and accidents before doing so. punitive actions in my opinion are not a way to go. certainly not against the scientist that unintentional makes a mistake. if a scientist willingingly -- and there are scientists that do that, go against sops, that's a completely different job issue that's a scientist that is doing their job within a culture and does not go out outside of the s.o.p. that's provided to them.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> it builds resentment? you've got to be kidding me. you telling me these people with ph.d.s do not understand that anthrax is dangerous if are you kidding me? they need more training? you make in your statement that it was also a result of biosafety training for scientists work consistent, blah blah blah. are you kidding me? are you making excuses for these scientists? if they don't understand that anthrax is used for a weapon, its spores can kill people, they kill people and harm people at the u.s. capitol, then they shouldn't be working there. it sounds like you're saying they need more training. boo-hoo. this is a bad situation. it sounds like you're making excuses. look at this. "the washington post," today's
cartoon. you think the employees at cdc are proud of this? ha ha ha, it's funny? no, it's not. this is tragic. it could have been lethal for people. i hear you telling ms. blackburn that we are going to build resentment. i'm sorry. i don't buy that at all. >> may i comment? thank you, chairman murphy. i again am not defending what's going on with cdc. in fact i've said that i'm disappointed even as a former cdc. >> disappointed is not the right word. you should find this to be abhorrent. any words other than yes or no, was it wrong or not wrong? we can make excuses for, you know mary barra sat here from gm and said this is wrong, no question about it. dr. friedan says this is wrong. there's no gray zone in this. i don't get it. i'll let you respond. >> i appreciate that. i know the vds involved. when i say training is needed,
and training is a solution, there are several phases in training and on the job specific training which includes s.o.p. verification is needed for scientists, which have been mentioned in previous panel aspects as well. i'm not making light of the situation. i'm not making light of the situation at all. i am simply say if we choose to punish people who come forward when they make a mistake. >> that's different. >> that's what i'm saying. >> that's different. we want people to be willing to do that. >> thank you. >> but i thought that you were saying here, and i think it is in your statements here, they need more training. they need on the job training to know this is bad? when you put anthrax in a zip-loc bag? you don't need training -- i've got over -- >> that is subjective. >> well, and i guess my concern is that what we have here is a series of reports that dr. ebright has brought out, some of the questioning i did and others
did earlier, we've had a series of reports that date back a good period of time, and yet the changes haven't been made. so it's a concern. a mistake is one thing. having a standard operating procedure that is so flawed that you have repeated mistake is something that i have to agree with 9 chairman on, that's our problem. you want them to come forward as quickly as possible and let's fix it. but you have to stop the same mistake from happening over and over again. how do we make these reforms happen this time? how do we do that? while cdc has to protect the american people from anthrax and other things, or job is to oversight and make sure they are doing their job. how do we make it happen? >> i think the two steps that
contingent and the administration could follow to reduce the probability outside those facilities. first to reduce the number of select agent laboratories. the volume of select agent research increased by a factor of 20 to 40 over the last decade. needs to be close back that would represent taking the current 1,000 or more than 1,000 select agent labs in the u.s. and reducing it to 50. >> let me ask you a question real quick. high containment, select agent,s thor interchangeable terms? or different? >> thee very close to interchangeal. most select agent research, most
research of consequence is done at biosafety levels 3. levels 3 and 4 are considered high-level containment. >> so the first recommend is back down to 50 from 1,000. >> the increase was a factor of 20 to 40. i would recommend we roll back a factor of 20 to factor of 40. 1,000 divided by 20 is 50. 1,000 divided by 40 is 25. so that i believe is the single, eastiest, fasters and certainly most economical approach. last one is independent not an agency that funds the work. >> you said we need to scale back. why has there been an expansion, and the phrasing i have is high containment. it was in large measure,
essentially in show to the anthrax mailings. it was understandable, because it was expected that with the biological weapon. it was expected that biology would be put on a mobilization footing to address this threat. and after it has become clear that the investigation believes it came from within the u.s. biodefense establishment we have the strange situation that we have expanded that established by a factor of 20 to 40 without reason and without reassessment. the risks follow mathematically,
particularly when you recruit people without prior experience, new to the field, you increase risks, and you increase those risks by a factor of 20 to 40 or more. >> on those points, mr. kauffman, are you in agreement? we need to scale it back some? >> i am not. i agree with gao, that there's not enough information to make a decision to back off or go up. high-containment laboratories' capacity are not built for the threats well-just see today. we see for the threats we don't see coming around the corner tomorrow. let me switch gears and ask about the research. the generated a virus, similar to the 1918 influenza outbreak that killed tens of thousands,
maybe hundreds of thousands worldwide, and other ways to make avian flu virus more contagious in ferrets. is this part of the expansion? >> this is part of the expansion. this is work that is funded as biodefense research, and this is a prime example of the culture of hubris. this is work that should not be performed, flat and blank, should not be performed. in those cases where elements of this work are deemed essentially, when the research information could be obtained in no other way, then this work should only be performed in a very limited number of institutions, perhaps one or two nationally, and only after extensive review of risk/benefit weighing at the national level, and only under the most string ensafety and security conditions. >> i appreciate having the hearing, mr. chairman. i like the opportunities to learn and i have learned a great deal from the hearing. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman for
yielding back, and i would encourage members of this committee to go visit the labs, particularly the cdc headquarters and see how it works. certainly for members of the cdc listening, i hope they understand the seriousness of what congress views today on this. i have unanimous consent that the members' opening statements be introduced, and without objection, the documents will be entered into the record. also unanimous consent to put the documents in the record subject to redactions by staff. in conclusion, i want to thank all of the witnesses and members who participated in this hear. i remind members they have ten business days to submit questions and ask all the witnesses agree to promptly. with that, this hearing is adjourned. thank you very much.
. 40 years ago this summer, events at the capitol hill and supreme court and white house quickly unfolded leading to the only resignation of an american president. on american history tv this week, we go back to 1974 and president nixon's last weeks in office. tonight the oral argument, and could president nixon claim executive privilege? the tapes sought by the watergate special prosecutors. so see that tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. on c-span, the national association of latino elected officials' annual meeting held this year in san diego. speaker including jerry brown, tom press, and former attorney
general alberto gonzales. topics include immigration, civil rights and the 2014 midterm elections. here's a preview. my perspective is that -- i agree that congress needs to vote on this, and they need to do it soon. this is, as other speakers talked about, this is a law enforcement economic issue. this is about us. this is about america, who we are as a country. this is something that we need to do. i've heard republicans say, wait a minute, we don't want to go down this rod. this president will only enforce the laws that he wants to. my perspective is congress has a job to do. they ought to be doing their job. they ought to pass a bill, and both branches ought to be working together. so to me it's intolerable. i know how hard this is. president bush tried and we couldn't get it done with a republican congress, but that's why we elect these people to go
there, to tackle the most difficult issues we have as a country. you know, we -- they should be accountable. >> but you know, what your position is is so interesting to me, is obviously there are republicans, people insued the party who are just resisting this, especially the talk radio crowd, you are rewarding people who have done illegal things. so you're in the position of an intraparty -- well, a civil war within the republican party over this issue. how doing it plays out? >> i think in the end my side will win or it's the end of the party. >> the end of the party? really? >> yeah. i think this is something that's got to be solved. the truth of the matter is hispanics are growing political force, if they feel like the republican party doesn't have
anything for them, the republicans are not going to win the white house. won't, and so i think this is an important issue, i really do. >> watch all of that event tonight, on our companion network c-span. tonight on "the communicators" three members of congress talk about their technology legislation. >> i believe in an open, free internet without government intervention. when you look at where the internet has come and where it's going into the future, this is all being done on the private sector. >> why would a team not want their product, their brand exposed to tens of thousands of people? we think the blackout rule is obsolete. we believe that the nfl will follow suit. >> it's a bill that tries to
address concerns over must carry, carriage rules over retransmission consent, giving people a level footing when it comes to being able to negotiate with broadcasts, and being able to negotiate with the providers, trying to deliver that media to the consumer. so it puts people on a level plays field when it comes to those -- >> bob latta from ohio. new york democratic representative d. and cory gardner, tonight at. the senate judiciary committee recently held a hear on the women's health protection act, a bill that prohicks laws restricting women's access to abortion services. senator richard blumenthal, from connecticut, women members of the u.s. house and senate, doctors and -- with -- and the bill's proposed action, with
provided remarks. this is just over two hours. >> welcome. thank you for joining us today. thank you to our witnesses, thanks to our ranking member senator grassley and most especially to senator leahy, the chairman of the judiciary for giving me this privilege of chairing this hear. we are convened today to hear testimony regarding the women's health protection act, removing barriers to constitutionally protected reproductive rights. our first panel consists of a number of our checks who have positions and views on this issue. as well as my check, senator baldwin from the senate, who is my co-sponsor in the measure that's not pending before the senate and has been a leader for a long time in this area.
we have support from more than 30 of our senate colleagues, and my understanding is that the companion measure. >> co-sponsors in the house or thereabouts. >> the reason for this big is essentially is the cascading avalanche of restrictions on reproductive health care around the country. what we see increasingly is in effect an avalanche of measures that purportedly protect women's health care, but in reality restrict reproductive rights. this bill is about stopping laws when really they interfere with the doctor/patient relationship and have in fact the very, and limiting constitutionally protected wrights.
our goal, speaking for myself, our goal is to stop politicians from plays doctor and stout public officials from interfering in significant medical decisions that should be made by med experience and patients together. this legislation would eliminate limitations on access to aborti abortion services and rye strikz against providers and clinics, no matter where a woman may live in fact. more than half the states now have these very unwanted and unconstitutional restrictions, and the majority of women in our country live in those states. they have passed 92 restrictions on a woman's right to choose in those states since 2011 more than 100, and in 2014, at least
another dozens of these harmful laws have been enacted. so we're talking about serious harassment of reproductive health care providers, singling them out for regulations that apply to no other medical services. regulations that do nothing to improve a woman's health or safety, and in fact are more likely to harm them. these regulations are designed to shut doors of vital health care providers forever, and that purpose has been fulfilled across the country as the availability of these services has been restricted these regulations are in effect a pernicious charade. and one of the purposes that i see is to remove the patina of respectability, and show they are, many of them irresponsible
and even reprehensible under the guise of protecting women's health care, they actually endanger it. i want to thank our witnesses and fellow members for making this hearing happen. we may disagree on these issues, but i know we'll have an enlightning and engaging hearing. thank you to our colleagues and other body that are hear, as well as senator from wisconsin. and thank you for the succeeding panel that will be here. 4 1/2 years ago a woman walked into an abortion clinic with expectations that she would have her pregnancy terminated and she would walk out without major side effects. she was 41-year-old, 19 weeks pregnant. she had three children, also a grandmother. she and her daughter entered the
clinic, but she never left alive. her name was carmea amonger. she was one of many victims of kermit gosnell. he operated a clinic in west philadelphia for four decades. he made a living by performing abortions that no other doctor should ever do. the grand jury report stated, quote -- gosnel's approach was simple -- keep volume high, expenses low, break the law. that was his competitive advance. also according to the grand jury report, gosnell ran a baby charne will. l, it smelled with cat urine. furniture and blankets were stained with blood.
instruments were not sterilized, and medical equipment was broken. he provided same-day service, required counseling was ignored, the bigger the baby, the bigger the charge. ultra-sounds were forged so that government would never know how old aborted babies truly we are. babies were born alive, killed after breathing on their own by sticking scissors in the back of the baby's neck and cutting the -- these were live, screaming, squirming babies. he didn't care about the well-being of these aborted babies. he didn't care about the health of women. women were put under because he disliked the moaning and groaning, screaming. this practice and his disregard for the law led to the death of two women, including the one that i've already mentioned. now, pennsylvania has a law against abortions after 24 weeks.
it also has a very common-sense law that says women should receive counseling about abortion procedures, and they must wait 24 hours after the first visit to a provider in order to fully consider the decisions that they're about to make. while it is true that kermit gosnell ignored the law, these laws have saved lives. they have saved women from horrible life-threatening procedures. they've saved babies. if the bill we're discussing today, the women's health promotion act were to become law, pennsylvania's laws would be invalidated. abortion providers would not be required to counsel their patients or give them 24 hours to consider what they were about to do, and more importantly, it would lead to inhumane, unsanitary, dangerous, shocking, unsafe abortions. the law that helped convict kermit gosnell would be wife away. this proposed legislation is an
attempt to override u.s. supreme court precedent by several severely restricting states to regulate abortion. it would invalidate hundreds of laws seven as clinic regulations, at midding privilege requirement. reflection periods. conscious protections, sex selection bans, and limitations on the use of state funds and facilities for abortion training. >> now, my home state of iowa has laws on the book to protect the unborn and women. for example, a law stipulation when inducing an abortion by producing an abortion-inducing drug, a physician must be physically present with the woman at the time that the drug is provided. that was enacted to ensure that women were not taking abortion-inducing drugs via
webcam and then far from a medical provider, who may save the life if a problem came about. we also have a law on the books to protect the rights of medical professionals, specifically law says, quote -- an individual who may lawfully perform, assist or participate in medical procedures which will as a result in an abortion shall not be required against the individual's religious or moral convictions to perform, assist or participate in such procedures. a person shall not discriminate against any individual in any way, including but not limited to employment, promotion, advancement, transfer, licensing, education, training, or granting of hospital privileges or staff appointments, because of the spread's participate in or refusal to participate in recommending performing or assisting in an abortion procedure. iowa like many other states have taken action on their own to make sure that abortions are
done safely. they have proceeded individuals from having to kill babies against their own religious beliefs. yet the bill before us would invalidate these laws and allow providers to set standards of care with no oversight from the state. it would allow health care workers to determine when life is viable, ensure several and varies standards across the country. the bill would evaluate laws enacted by ten states since 2010, which declared the unborn children are capable of experiencing pain at least be 20 weeks of fetal age and generally prohibit abortion after that point. if the bill before us were to be signed into law, the federal government would send a message to states that enacting laws to protect patients and regulate the health and well fair -- is not one of their tenth amendment
rights. it would allow congress to intrude on states' rights and nullify such laws. it's unfortunate that the majority is using this issue to appear compassionate and concerned about women's rights when in reality the bill disregards aimed at protecting women and children akros this country and stopping murders. a large majority of americans' strong -- support strong restrictions that this bill would overturn. thank you. >> twhang you, senator grassley. we'll hear from our colleagues, and again my thanks to congresswomen who have come to join us. >> thank you, chairman blumer that will and ranking member
grassley and members. because a constructive on this issue, and i'm grateful for the opportunity to share my work on the women's health protection act. i would like to recognize the tireless advocacy of my wisconsin state representative, chris taylor, who is here today and will be on the second panel. i thank her for her testimony today. americans across the country expect to have high -- when they and their families need it. instead my colleagues and i have worked to reform and improve health care to expand access. so that all patients have health care that meets their needs. unfortunately for women in this
country for years, they have been chipping article at the constitutional rights guaranteed under roe versus wade. and have access to a safe and legal reproductive care. too many states have been trying to turn back the clock. in just the pass three years, states across this country have enacted a total of 205 provisions this user 13 states have been busy working to erode women's freedoms and have already adopted 21 new restrictions designed to limit access to abortion. in my home state of wisconsin,
we are now ranked as one of the worst states when it comes to women's reproductive rights, thanks to the restrictive measures enacted by our governor and our legislature. to name just one last year or governor signed -- forcing women to make two separate trips to the clinic, to also undergo an invasive ultra-sound 24 hours before receiving abortion care. this same law also forces health care professionals to have unnecessary admitting privileges at a local hospital. if it were not for a federal judge temporarily blocking this provision, two clinics would have been forced to shut their doors, leaving many wisconsin women out in the cold.
women and their families should not have to rely on last-minute cord decisions to make the best decisions for themselves. >> i recently heard from a mother in middleton, wisconsin, who wasn't so lucky. when she found out her baby had a severe fetal anomaly that would not survive delivery, she had to endure the consequences of the governor's new law before the federal court judge blocked the provision she had to undergo a emergency -- but because the governor was set to sign the law imposing these unreasonable requirements on providers, the clinic was preparing to close its doors, and would not schedule her procedure. she and her husband were forced to find child care for their two sons, to travel out of state so she could receive the medical care she needed.
the threat in wisconsin and in states across the country is clear. some politicians are doing this because they think they know better than women and their, own personal medical decisions without consulting their legislature. it is not the job of politicians to play doctor and dictate how professional an important health discussions in mer families. this is why i am proud with my colleague, with senator blumenthal and congresswoman chu to put a stop, let me conclude by briefly describing the bill. the women's health protection act would prohibit these laws that undermine and infringe on a woman's constitutional rights. specifically our bill would
outlaw and mandate any mandate or regulation that does not significantly advance women's health or safety our landlords -- that make abortion, and restrictions on the provision of abortion services that are not imposed on any other medical procedures. congress is responsible for enforcing every american's fundamental rights guaranteed by our constitution. throughout history, when states have passed laws that make it harder or even impossible to exercise those rights, we have necessarily step in with federal protections. would ensure that every woman, no matter where she lives, has access to safe quality reproductive health care without interference from politicians. i thank you for your time.
>> thank you senator, representative baye, thank you for the opportunity to testify before your today. as has been said, my name is diane black. imthe honestor of serve the in the house of representatives. prior to entering public service, i built mire career around the health care sector as a register nurse. my career began as an emergency room nurse, where i spent the majority of my career, but i was also worked as a long they have term care nurse. i decided to run for off after i winced firsthand how poor public policy was directly impacting my ability to deliver health care, and more importantly, the unfortunate outcomes on the lives of my patients. today i am here to share with you as a colleague in the house and also as a mother, a grandmother and a nurse, my grave concerns with the
chairman's legislation. although called the women's health protection act, this bill would nullify and declare unlawful any law at any level of the government, whether federal, state or local that presents what the bill deems to be an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. this legislation would effectively overturn the majority of state laws regulating abortions. as a nurse, i can tell you that abortion is unlike any other medical procedure. this is an act that does not just involve the mother, but the child. it takes the life of an unborn child, and in the process imposes many serious medical risks to the mother. to be clear and transparent, i am unapologetic pro-life. i also believe that we must do everything in our power to protect any woman who decides to have an abortion, even though i
mass disagree with their choice. during my time in the e.r., a young woman came in after having complications with her abortion which had been done in a clinic that was not regulated properly. when the complications occurred, there is no answer at the after-hours number that she called. by the time she reached the hospital, she was dying, and there was nothing that i or the doctors could do to save her life. as a result of arch abortion, the young woman lost her precious life. her life kifb saved if proper regulations had been in place that protected her health and the well-being and head the abortionist accountable. infections occur 1% to 5% of the abortion. cervical lacerations, incompetent servics and other can occur. worse, minors are up to twice as likely to experience cervical lacerations during an abortion,
and overall are even more susceptible to short-term ricks than are older women. women who have had abortions are at a 37% increased risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies, a 30% to 50% increase of placental previous in subsequent preg nances. 1% more likely to develop breast cancer. abortions not only pose ser physical rick, but endanger a woman's mental health as well. studies show after having an abortion, a woman is 81% more likely to develop a mental health issue, 37% increased risk of depression, 110% increase of alcohol abuse, and sadly 155% increase in the risk of suicide. after the horrific case of
abortionist kerm gosnell, americans know even if abortions are legal, these procedures are risky and must be regulated. programs that's why they be listened by physicians and why 26 states require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical care clinics. just as important they prohibit and about nice -- or at the start. when medical research affirming that unborn children can feel the pain during an abortion. we are, after all, discussing a medical procedure that ends a human life. let us not also forget that the supreme court indicated in planned parenthood versus casey, that the government has an interest in preserving fetal life. senate bit 196 recommends a sweeping attempt to undermine
dozens of efforts to protect women, all under the false pretense that abortions are safe and rare. my hope today is that we can reach across party lines, realized our -- and see abortions for what they are. abortion is brutal to both 9 mother and the unborn child. it is not health care. to reference the supreme court, a dilatation and extraction abortion, which represents the majority of abortion procedures, is generally gruesome as part of a partial-birth abortion. this procedure -- these abortion procedures are the most common for abortions performed in the second trimester the pregnancy when the unborn child is literally torn apart limb by limb. in considering this, and many health care risks that can oy curl, i stroongly urge you to reconsider advancing senate bill 1696, any other effort that would undermine current law that is exist to protect the health
and well-being of women at the federal level, state, local, government level. thank you again for the opportunity to be here today, and i yield back. >> thank you representative black. representative chu? >> thank you chairman, and committee members for the opportunity to testify today. every woman should have access to affordable and comprehensive health care coverage that products her right to choose. this should be the case, regardless of her income, the time of sure she has or the state she resides in so she can make personal health decisions based on what is best for her and her family. but we are witnessing an alarming moment in time, attacks on reproductive rights are intensifying. having lost in our court system, opponents of reproductive freedom are trying to undercut or constitutional right and make
it increasingly different to access a legal abortion. they're trying to take us back to a time before roe, when 1.2 million women resorted to illegal abortion each year. their goal is to take us back to a time when doctors led to infection shuns, hemorrhages, at times death. they're taking us back to a time when many knew the hazards, but risked all of this, because they were desperate. this was their only option. you new trend is to shut down abortion services, but this time state by state. this goes happening all across the country? individual states have signed into law restrictive regulation that single out services, between 2011 and 2013, more than two dozen states passed over 200 restrictions that block access to abortion services.
this translates to more restrictions placed on women's health care in three years than in the entire preceding decade. the effect of these laws is that a woman as constitutional rights now depends on her address. the right of women residing in my home state of california now vastly differ from the rights of women living in texas or mississippi. 56% of women, over half of women in our country now live in a state that is hostile to abortion. these laws to biased counseling requirements, to the exact size requirements and corridor width for the offices in which the procedure is to take place. they are laws like the recent one in texas which make no sense medically. they require doctors performing abortion procedures to have formal 5d mitting privileges at
a hospital within 30 miles of their dlinic, among other senseless requirements. we already see the effects. after the law passed, clinics began closing their doors. for women in texas, this means longer waits, higher costs, and canceled appointments. some have to travel over 150 miles to get to the nearest clinic. these obstacles have put many women in desperate circumstances, some of which may very well endanger their lives. we need laws that put women's health and safety first, not politics. and that is why we introduced the women's health protection act this congress. we recognize that without the ability to access it, the right to abortion is meaningless. this bill would outlaw the restrictive state laws that tar abortion services and shut down clinics across the country. such as forced ultrasounds, restrictions on medication
abortion and other onerous trap laws. simply put, this bit would end discrimination and for women based on their zip code. i am so proud to be the lead sponsor of this bill in the house and to partner with -- to push as hard as we can on this bill, we already have 124 co-sponsors in the house. constitutional rights should never be subject to the personal whims or beliefs of political leaders. nor should the safety of mothers, daughters, sisters or wives be jeopardized in the process. thank you for the opportunity to testify, and thank you for holding this important hearing to discuss how we can protect the health, safety and rights of all women. >> thank you, representative chu. representative blackburn?
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to join you all, senator grassley, thank you for the invitation. i think that it is fair to say that every one of us at this table and certainly each of you, we all want what is best for women. we differ on what that is, and we differ on how to get there. i aim appreciative of the opportunity to be here and to talk with you about this legislation, the women's health protection act. in my opinion, it is something that is extraordinarily broad. it is loosely written, and through its wide-ranging words, would in my opinion substitute the special interest of the abortion issue and industry for both the well-being of women and the value of human life. the legislation would jeopardizes and nullify hundreds of laws, as has previously been mentioned, laws that protect both mothers and their unborn
children. among my concerns with the bill, and senator grassley mentioned several of these. it would render impossible efforts by the states to limit abortions based on the sex of the child. it would put a double pressure -- pardon me -- on women who are often forced -- often forced by fa millial object cultural pressures to exercise male bias in pregnancy and eliminate a female child. furthermore, this legislation sets a dangerous precedent, because it would place unconstitutional limits on a state's ability to assure the safety of medical facilities. abortion are indeed invasive medical procedures and should be regulated by the states as such. in addition, by consideration this legislation, many of your constituents perceive that this body is out of touch with the
consensus opinion in this country. public opinion polls show time and again that the american people support limits on abortion. they support this 60% of americans believe that abortion should not be permitted in the second trimester, and an overwhelming 80% believe it should never happen in the third. women hold these convictions at a higher percentage than men, and it is no wonder we bear life. we bear the burden when public policies fail to support women at a critical hour. the committee would be well advised to consider how far this bill goes in reversing and uprooting both a long-existing and rising consensus. as 1696 would attack conscious -- that have existed since the '73 abortion decision. it would bar laws for periods of
reflection and consideration before an abortion is chosen. it would prevent a state from assuring that a physician is physically present when abortion drugs are given, or even that only a physician may perform a surgical abortion. it would make the abortion process less safe. what the senate should be considering today is the pain capable unborn child protection act, which passed the house of representatives on june 17th, 2014, on a bipartisan vote, 228-196. the pain capable act is a piece of legislation that is supported by the american people. it is based in science and filled with compassion. the pain capable unborn child protection act limits abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, except in the instances of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. our nation is one of only about seven countries in the world to
allow elective abortion to term. this legislation would take one small but vital step to move us closer to the international norms. polling business quinnipiac university, "the washington post" and the huffington post have all shown that a strong majority of people support limiting abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy. quinnipiac university's poll shows that women supported 20-week limit in even greater numbers than men, 60% of women versus 20% in opposition. this is an ultra-sound of my grandson, on march 11th, 200 before his byrd on july 12th,
2009. this is the wonder of science. i have to tell you how exciting it was for me to see this ultra-sound. i was thrilled. i could tell -- i could tell before he was born, three months before he was born. he had my eyes and nose. now, for a grandmother, that's a really big deal. i could see his hands. i could see his arms, and i could see him peacefully resting in his mother's womb. that is the wonder of science. that is life. our constitution does not put a qualifier on life. s the pursuit of life, liberty, pursuit of protections. the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.
even in the mother's womb. i urge this committee to reconsidering the legislation. we have mentioned the horrors of the gosnell trial, the aborgsist who ran a ghastly so-called clinic. he was tried, rightfully convicted for the crimes he committed and the deaths he caused in that terrible place. yet the legislation that you are considering, the women's health protection act could be. and invalidate the bipartisan legislation. i find it so curious that your legislation is termed the women's health protection act. in my opinion, it would be more accurately titled, the removal of existing. abortion act. i encourage you to reconsidering
before you get too comfortable, i'm going to ask you to stand, because the custom of our committee is to swear in our witnesses, if you would please rise. do you affirm the testimony you're good to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the trust so help you god? thank you. let me introduce our witnesses before they give their testimony. we're going to begin with nancy north rupp, the president and ceo of the center for reproductive rights. she as worked as a litigator and federal prosecutor before her appointments at the center, which is a global human rights organization that has documented
there have been over 200 state laws passed in the last three years designed to make it harder or impossible for women to access adorgs services in their communities. we are not blocked by courts. this new waive the restrictions shutting down clinics, and harmi harming women. this is the newest tactic in a four decade campaign to deprive women of the promise of row versus wade. there have been during those four decades, terrorizing physical attacks, clinics bombed, vandalized and torched, doctor and clinic workers murdered and cliniced blockades. 25 years ago, i locked arms with members of my church to storm a
human chain of protection as hundreds of operation rescue protesters ascended intend on obstructing patients from entering. this scene was played out over and over again akcross the nation. today, women's access to do dorgs ser abortion services is being blocked that are designed accomplish through the pen would could not be accomplished through brute force. at an alarming rate states are passing throughs that single out reproductive health provider with regulations designed to regulate them out of practice under the false pretense of health and safety. when enacting such a law in 2012, a state senator put it quite plainly.stated, the
true purpose of these laws is evident. abortion is one of the safest medical procedures yet is being singled out. for example, doctors who perform miscarriage completions in their ofgs practik office are not subject to theys onerous requirements despite the fact that they are requiring the same procedure as abortion providers who are subject to these procedures. they have gone on record many -- against many of these laws. indeed you have their testimony before you today. courts have found some so at odd with medical standards that can serve no purpose but to prevent women from ending a pregnancy. a year ago, congress passed a sweeping restrictions to devastating affects.
at least 1/3 of that state's clinic have been forced to stop abortion care. in an impoverish area with over 1.3 residents. if the final requirement of texas restrictions is allowed to go into affect in september, the number of clinics will plummet to less than ten to serve a sprawling state of over 260,000 square miles and 13 million women. a study in texas found that 7% of women reported attempts to self abort before seeking medical care. now women are crossing the border in mexico to buy miscarriage inducing drugs and seeking emergency care back in texas. like all of us here, i come to the issue of abortion rights with my own set of rief skpelif experiences. as the supreme court noted 20
years ago, men and women of good conscious can disagree and possibly always willpregnancy. in row versus wade, the court remind us that it is the promise of the constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter. the most fundamental decisions about oir reproductive lives are pour each of to yous maus to ma for the government. one in three women in the united states pmakes the zidecision at some point in her live itthat ending a pregnancy is for her. when a woman makes it adecision, she needs good, safe, reliable care from a health care provider she trusts or or fear the
community that she calls now. but today a woman's ability to do so increasingly depends on the state in which she happens to live. like 20 years ago, congress needs to make action to ensure that women's constitutional rights and their ability to make the most personal of decisions is not taken from them. thank you. >> thank you. doctor. >> it's an honor to -- thank you. it's an honor to be here today senator. my name is dr. shro i'm on the duke university medical staff. i'm also a clinic researcher. this law could reasonably be interpreted to invalidate any type of current state laws which place regulations on abortion. it would also endanger health care providers of conscious.
the purpose of the bill as we've understood is to protect women's he held health by ensuring that women's health will continue to be available. one, abortion is good and safe for women. number two, state abortion restrictions are medically unwarranted. number three that access to abortion is important to women's health and that the state has no interest in protecting unborn children. ly i will address each of these. the centers for disease control and produce a nonviable fetus at any age. the u.s. supreme court has repeatedly acknowledged that abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures because no other procedure involves the termination of a
life and that the abortion decision has implications further than other treatments. a substantial body of literature indicates that reduces abortion is a associated with risks and reasonable harms to women. in a very large study from finland, the maternal mortality rate was 14.1 per 100,000. among these women, other were included both surgical and medical abortions. these statistics aren't a significant burden of disease. if these results were extrapolated to the united states that would be 260,000 per year. the risk for abortion performed
at greater than 21 weeks greater when performed at 21 weeks than at lower anyones. these risks range from abo about .one-to-oabout .1 to 100,000. the results can not easily be ex-r extrapolated. that is a significant issue. this is mortality. this is death. other complications can occur following abortion. induces abortion in first pregnancy as we've heard earlier increases th